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Girls/ Children

I am interested in starting an organization that promotes girls' (teens') self-esteem. My background is with the National Organization for Women (former Chicago NOW president), which has just begun to focus on building its youth program. Though I admire NOW's efforts to reach out to this particular demographic, I am more interested in concentrating on young women's programs that are designed exclusively for young women (where young women act as decision-makers in the organization) and are not a subset of a "women's" organization per se. In particular, I'd like to know if there are any teen girls' organizations that focus on community service and young women's empowerment, as well as gender, race and class awareness? An associate from NOW mentioned an organization called Girls, Inc. based in New York. Where might I look for further information on Girls, Inc. and on this topic in general?

Thank you for your note to Feminist.com and for all of your efforts toward women and girls. Besides my life at Ask Amy, I am very involved with the Third Wave, a national foundation for young feminists between the ages of 15 and 30. Third Wave is unique in reaching the latter part of this age range. This is a time in life where one is making difficult decisions about whether or not to start a family or distance yourself from an abusive one; whether or not to continue your education and how. As an organization that puts the emphasis on young women -- and as an organization whose entire decision-making structure and creation come from young women in this same age range--we always need to clarify what others mean by "young women".

As you may know, over the past few years much attention has been given to girls and young women. Unfortunately, the latter has been more in lip service than in actual agendas. The cut-off point is roughly 18 and then the majority of young women are to fend for themselves, get involved in college groups or fit within places like NOW and other pre-exisisting women's organizations, where young women are mostly the assistants and rarely invited to meetings and/or asked to contribute except on an intergenerational panel. I say this all as of way of saying that if you want to be involved with young women...than giving Third Wave a call might be your first stop--#212-388-1898. If girls are in fact your target group, you should contact Girls, Inc.. Their national office is in New York City--#212-689-3700. Girls, Inc. is a great group that works with mostly teen girls through national public education campaigns and through their regional affiliate offices. There are also plenty of regionally--and state and city--based groups that work with girls, all of whom are doing great work. If you let me know where you are geographically, perhaps I can put you in touch with some of these. Networking is the best first step, so as gaps can be filled in rather than overflowing.

I hope the above is helpful and informative and not too much rambling. Good luck in the meantime.


Amy

 

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